Eurasian or Chinese Mermaids? The Story of Wong’s Sisters and their Family of Searching Identity for the Eurasian Elites in Hong Kong
Tsz Ho Wong Faculty of Arts, The University of Hong Kong
This study aims to provide a new perspective of the histories of sports, Eurasian identity and families in Hong Kong. Hong Kong swimmers Joan Wong Yuen-jing 黃婉貞 and her sister Sybil Wong Yuen-sang 黃婉生 (or 黃婉笙) became China's swimming champions at the 7th National Athletic Meet 全國運動會 in Shanghai in May 1948. The Chinese media honoured them as the “New Mermaids 新美人魚”. Indeed, they are the members of Wong Kam-fook 黃金福 ’s family, a well-known Eurasian family. Their father, Dr. Wong Sik-to 黃錫滔, is an ophthalmic surgeon, and the founder of the local Chinese Amateur Swimming Association 中華業餘游泳總會. Their grandfather, Wong Kam-fook, is the compradore of the Wharf, the chairman of the Tung Wah Group of Hospital 東華三院, and the brother-in-law of Sir Robert Ho Tung 何東. In other words, Ho is the sisters’ granduncle. However, Wong’s sisters and their father have never claimed themselves as Eurasians. This could possibly relate to the fact that Eurasians are not respected by the British even if they obtain a high social status. In fact, Dr. Wong was fined in 1922 for using abusive language and obstructing servants of the railway. The incident happened because he was not allowed to access the first-class train carriage as he was considered a Chinese by the Kowloon-Canton Railway’s Traffic Superintendent. It could be one of the possible reasons why Wong’s family preferred to blur their Eurasian identity, and portray themselves as Chinese.